by Carmack A


Transurethral resection of a bladder tumor (TURBT) is surgery to remove tumors from the bladder. The bladder is the sack that holds urine. This type of surgery is done without making cuts into the skin. Recovery is faster than with open surgery.

Reasons for Procedure

TURBT is done to remove growths that might be cancer or are causing problems. It may be done if the growths are causing bleeding.

Possible Complications

Problems are rare, but there is always some risk. Some problems after the surgery may be:

Talk to the doctor about ways to handle things that may raise the risk of problems, such as:

  • Smoking
  • Drinking
  • Health problems like diabetes

What to Expect

Prior to Procedure

You will need to:

  • Arrange for a ride home.
  • Talk to your doctor about all medicines and supplements you are taking. Some may need to be stopped up to 1 week before surgery.
  • Do not eat or drink after midnight the night before surgery.


General or  spinal anesthesia may be used. General anesthesia causes you to sleep. Spinal anesthesia numbs the lower body, but you will be awake.

Description of the Procedure

A small scope will be placed into the urinary opening. It will then be passed up into the bladder. This scope will let the doctor see inside the bladder. A wire loop can also be passed to the bladder. This loop will be used to remove tumors that are found. Spots of abnormal tissue may also be removed for testing. A catheter may be placed to help drain the bladder and help the bladder heal.

How Long Will It Take?

About 30 to 90 minutes, depending on the size and locations of the tumor(s)

Will It Hurt?

Anesthesia will prevent pain during surgery. Medicine can help ease pain after.

Average Hospital Stay

Most people go home the same day. Others may need to stay longer.

Post-procedure Care

At the Care Center

Medicine will be given to ease pain. The catheter will be removed.

At Home

Some activity may be limited for up to 4 weeks.

Call Your Doctor

Call your doctor if you are not getting better or you have:

  • Signs of infection, such as fever and chills
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Heavy bleeding or clots in urine
  • Pain that does not go away with medicine
  • Urinary problems, such as burning, frequent urge, or not being able to pass urine
  • If you have a catheter and it is not working as it should

If you think you have an emergency, call for medical help right away.


American Cancer Society 

Urology Care Foundation 


Canadian Cancer Society 

Canadian Urological Association 


American Urological Association and Society of Urologic Oncology (AUA/SUO) guideline on diagnosis and treatment of non-muscle invasive bladder cancer can be found at AUA 2016 Apr or in J Urol 2016 Oct;196(4):1021.

Bladder cancer surgery. American Cancer Society website. Available at: Updated January 30, 2019. Accessed June 3, 2020.

Management of non-muscle invasive bladder cancer. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: . Updated March 12, 2019. Accessed June 3, 2020.

Trans urethral removal of bladder tumour (TURBT). Cancer Research UK website. Available at: Updated July 22, 2019. Accessed June 3, 2020.

Revision Information

  • Reviewer: EBSCO Medical Review Board Adrienne Carmack, MD
  • Review Date: 07/2020
  • Update Date: 07/08/2020